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December 15, 2016

Govt to do all it can to protect Bilawal, SHC told


December 15, 2016

Law officer seeks two weeks to file details of policy on
providing security to heads of political parties, other citizens

The provincial government will go to any extent to provide security to Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as he is facing death threats, the Sindh High Court was told on Wednesday. 

Additional Advocate General Mustafa Mahesar made this declaration in response to a high court query what the government’s policy was on providing security to the citizens, including heads of political parties.

The court has been hearing a petition filed the PPP chief, who has sought adequate police and Rangers security, as well as permission for travelling in a factory-manufactured vehicle with tinted glasses and personal armed guards.

The law officer sought two weeks to file details of the policy. Additional Attorney General Salman Talibuddin also requested two weeks’ time for filing comments on the petition, saying that he had not yet received any comments from the interior ministry.

The court sought from Bilawal’s counsel proper assistance in articulating the policy or the law that bound the provincial and federal governments to provide security to heads of political parties or others who had been facing death threats.

In his petition that he filed in October, the young PPP leader said he had been receiving death threats and there were a security agencies’ report which established that his life was at great risk. 

He said that after the assassination of his mother Benazir Bhutto, PPP chairperson and former prime minster, in December 2007, he and his family had been facing a continuous threat from undemocratic forces in the country. He said he had always had apprehension about his and his family members’ safety because PPP leaders had been receiving threats from extremist and terrorist organisations.

The SHC had earlier granted petitions of Bilawal’s father Asif Ali Zardari, former president and co-chairman of the PPP, and his aunt Faryal Talpur seeking security, bullet-proof vehicles and private security guards. 

Also on Wednesday, Pakistan Qaumi Movement Chairman Syed Iqbal Kazmi filed an application seeking to become intervenor in the petition and requesting court to direct the federal and provincial governments to provide him with adequate security. 

He said he too was the chairman of a political party and facing life threats; therefore, he should be provided with government security.

Adjourning the hearing till January 13, the court directed the federal and provincial law officers to file comments on the petition.


Liquor ban

The SHC on Wednesday issued notices to the federal and provincial law officers on a petition seeking ban on production and sale of wine in the country.

Petitioner Syed Iqbal Kazmi submitted that the government had issued licenses to private companies for production of wine which were supplying liquor to different retailers of the province.

He said the Islamic injunctions prohibited production and sale of wine, whereas the prohibition (enforcement of Hadd) Order 1979 forbidden sale of wine to Muslims but around 98 percent wine shops in the province had been allowed to operate in Muslim populated areas.

He said the wine shop retailers did not maintain record of sale of wine to non-Muslims during their religious festivals. He submitted that private wine companies were producing wine more than consumption of the non-Muslim communities.

The petitioner requested the court to ban production of wine and direct the retailers to maintain record of wine sale to non-Muslim during their religious festivals.

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